Fragrant Harbor* by Miho Nonaka

To be Lord to the four seas of China
a man must let men make verses
he must let people play comedies
and historians write down the facts . . .
—Ezra Pound, Canto LIII

You are determined to stay. The last
persimmon hanging on the top branch
against the winter sky.

A city, an ocean of colors dazzle
bird brains, lure them toward
lit surfaces, where they crash

headlong. Larger bodies, beaten to
death, are thrown into the sea, ruled
suicides. The new normal, don’t

dress in black, keep a voluntary curfew.
You need multiple cell phones
for separate contact lists. No more

crossing borders. Your old teacher
shot point-blank in the eye
for halting on the pavement.

The police are still after anyone
who holds up a blank sheet of paper.
At dusk or dawn, the city looks

beautiful from Sky Lounge,
the water reflecting pink, yellow, blue,
opalescent lights like bolts of fabric:

There have been a lot of such
suicides since July.
So you ask,
What is home? A cool hand

on the forehead when you awake,
suddenly a child and sweating
from fever and dreams. The only

light you notice in the middle
of dark plains from the train window,
because your companion, whom

you won’t see again after he gets off,
suddenly turns and speaks to you
in a soft voice, That’s my home. Look.

*Literal meaning of the name, Hong Kong (香港 ) in Chinese.

From: https://kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2021-novdec/selections/miho-nonaka-763879/

Date: 2021

By: Miho Nonaka (19??- )

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